Tag Archives: family



This is not a good picture. The sky was too overcast, the composition isn’t quite right and the framing leaves something to be desired, and yet, I really love this picture, and thought I would share it today (originally intended for Wednesday, but whatever). This is a great picture. 

As I mentioned before, Brian and I were in Sanibel, Florida, where we joined his parents for the first two days of their annual winter vacation (Cleveland winters are no joke). This was my first visit, but Brian and his entire family have vacationed on the little island for generations. The weather this time wasn’t great (torrential downpours and our swimsuits never made it out of our bags), and we had to make an unfortunate visit to the emergency room (thankfully everyone’s ok), but I still found myself having a really good time. We got to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday, enjoyed great conversation over delicious meals (the Weisses love their eating out), I fed grapes to adorable squirrel monkeys, and I had my first Dairy Queen Blizzard in years. Life was good. And being that this was my first time there, it all felt like a special Weiss-Feinberg-family rite of passage that I was really grateful to experience. 

Anyway, back to this picture. I really like it, because, as whatever as it is, it captures a very content-looking Brian walking back from the beach followed by his parents, two people he loves very much. His relationship with his parents is very different from the one I have with mine. Conversations with my mom and dad are best described as concise, loud and argumentative (in the most loving Chinese way, of course). Brian’s are long, winding and involved. And even though he almost always picks inopportune times to have these hour-plus phone calls (like when I’m hungry), I really admire his love and respect for his mom and dad.

This picture makes me think of that. And reminds me that with each step we all take, our parents, the ones who helped us get there in the first place, are never far behind. 

Bob and Cathy, thanks for always being there for him. You raised a good one.

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I originally intended to post this video yesterday, but some security measures kicked in preventing me from logging on. I guess I’m not the only one trying to blog over here more. Hackers, gotta love them. Anyway, Brian and I are now happily at home in Colorado with my parents and brother, and are headed up to the mountains where we’ll be spending the next few days. 

In the spirit of the holidays and time with family, here’s a look at when mine came to visit us in Atlanta. The video offers a few glimpses of our house as well if you’d like to take a look. Let me just say it’s still a work in progress, so please be kind with your judgment.

Logging off for the rest of this week. Wishing you and yours a wonderful next few days no matter if you celebrate with Christmas ham or Chinese takeout. 

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080815BYW35{Photography by the one and only Kayla of Full Bloom Photography}

For the next several Wednesdays, I’ll be rolling out pictures from different parts of our wedding day, and another honeymoon video too. If weddings aren’t your thing, consider this fair warning. If you are a fan (because who doesn’t love a wedding, really?), you’re in luck as today’s post starts with the very beginning when a girl and her friends, and a guy and his, decided to get dressed for a wedding. I’m gonna keep this one short and let the beautiful pictures by the talented Kayla speak for themselves. 


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with Mom and Dad{with Mom & Dad}

Before sitting down to write this post, I had every intention of sharing a big overwhelming look at our countless favorite wedding pictures and moments. And then, it occurred to me that instead of dumping you with hundreds of images (although I’m sure I’ll get to that eventually), I’d start by sharing my four favorite pictures from the big day (see above and below). Notice a theme? Sorry, Brian.

Mom and Dad entrance{My favorite picture ever}

When I think back on our wedding, I can easily name more than 50 things that didn’t go as planned or that I would have done differently. In the days since, most of that discontent has managed to silence itself, but the one big thing that I wish I’d done a much better job of is expressing just how grateful I am for my parents. It’s not everyday that you get all of your favorite people in one room, much less have their attention. So, if I could do it all over again, I would stand before that microphone with my hankie at the ready, and tell my little world how much I really love and respect Ruilin Yang and Meng Su, aka Da and Ma.

Sadly, I can’t turn back time, so writing it here will have to do for now. And since I get to make the rules around here, l plan to get carried away.

I’m told parents are often the leading source of stress in wedding planning, especially the bride’s. That was never the case with us.

You need to have the wedding in Cleveland for Brian’s grandmother? No problem. Jewish ceremony? Of course. How much do you need? You got it. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy.

That was the extent of the questions asked and that last sentence I heard a lot. I think it’ll take being a parent myself to fully understand the true meaning of those words, but I’d like to think I have a decent idea. I owe it to them to know how good I have it. 

Walking down the aisle{a walk to remember (love that movie)}

Just days before the wedding, my dad, who had already been beyond generous, told me he would happily contribute for any unforeseen expenses beyond what he was already covering. This from a man who at no point in his life ever had any monetary help from his own parents, not because they believed such a thing builds character, but because they had absolutely none to give. 

There is no hiding that our wedding was not cheap. In fact, it was about as uncheap as you can possibly get. It was by all accounts a beautiful wedding, the kind that more than likely invites comments about how well the bride’s parents must have it. And it’s true, my parents have done well for themselves in recent years, but to know the full story is what makes it that much more remarkable. 

My parents are the definition of self-made. I won’t bore you with their life stories, but in a nutshell, my dad was born to illiterate subsistence farmers in rural China with no electricity, no running water and no real prospects. But what he lacked in modern-day luxuries, he more than made up for in love from his family and an insatiable desire to learn. His passion and countless hours spent reading by candlelight (hello, near blindness) would later be his ticket out of there, and in turn, my own. 

My mom’s story, although different in the circumstances of her upbringing, shares that same plot line of working extremely hard and understanding that in a communist totalitarian state, where no one had any real claim on anything in the material world, her most valuable asset would always be her knowledge. She graduated at the top of her med school class, the best in the country, only to give up her career when she and my dad made the difficult decision to leave behind everything they knew to pursue an unknown life with the hope that it would someday be a better life for their unborn children. 

Supporting a family of four on a student’s salary wasn’t easy, but my parents made it work. Only now do I see how hard it must have been for them to make ends meet in those early years. My mom picking up shifts at a Chinese restaurant comes to mind. But never did my brother and I ever want for anything. We were so very happy and loved. Their financial circumstances are different today, but the giving-us-all-they-could part of it all is still the same, which brings me back to the wedding. I can’t thank them enough for making our big day possible, for being so gracious and generous with their time and money, for being a source of calm and fun at all of the right times, and for stealing everyone’s hearts. I was a pretty proud daughter that weekend.

Mom and Dad hora{My parents rocking the Hora}

For instance, take this last picture. Having never been to a wedding in the western world, much less a Jewish one, and with me completely forgetting to give them any warning about this part of the reception, my parents were entirely unfazed. They went up in those chairs fearlessly, no questions asked, my mom with her hands up the entire time (the rest of us held on for dear life). This picture captures them at their essence: elegant, brave, loving and good-humored every step of the way.

Whenever the topic of parents comes up, I like to tell people that being born to my parents will always be the best thing to ever happen to me. While my parents are self-made, I am fully aware that I owe everything that I am to their selflessness, support, hard work and a surprising trait of open-mindedness. It’s no secret that Brian and I had some big obstacles that we had to work through before considering marriage. I’m therefore beyond grateful that the only question my parents ever asked me was “Does he make you happy?” Never did I think that in the parents equation, that mine, the Chinese immigrants, would initially be the cool ones. What a pleasant surprise that was. 

One more story for you – one of the best compliments I’ve ever received I heard from Brian’s great-uncle Allan when we had dinner with him, his wife Elaine, and two of their grandchildren in Paris when our two trips overlapped. Allan told me that prior to meeting my parents, he had no trouble picking them out of the small crowd of Chinese people present. “They have the same warm, bright, big smile that you do,” he said. I’ll treasure that comment forever. 

Ok, I think that’s about enough babbling from me.

Mom, Dad, I love you both so much. Thank you for everything, and a special shout-out to your cooking of well-balanced family dinners every night. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but see now how special that was and hope to do the same someday. You’re the best. No doubt about it.

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2012 Turkey
{Last year’s turkey prepared by my talented brother – Photo credit to him too}

Spending today away from my family has only made me more thankful and proud that I get to claim them as mine. You know how everyone says their parents are the best? Well, Ruilin Yang and Meng Su actually are. I could share all of the reasons why, but because I don’t want you to begin resenting yours, I’ll just leave it at that. My brother’s not so bad either.

Other things I’m thankful for:

+ My boyfriend. We’re each other’s biggest fans and favorite dance partners. 

+ My friends. Duh. The laughter and emoji conversations don’t happen on their own. Thanks to my dear ladyloves. You know who you are.

+ Loving memories of my Nainai. It’s been exactly one month since she passed away. Slowly but surely feelings of sadness are being crowded out by those of pride in her incredible legacy.

+ My job. We had an unfortunate round of layoffs last week, and there could be more on the horizon. In these uncertain times, I recognize how blessed I am to do what I do for a living alongside some really great people. 

+ School. As much as I take it for granted, I’m really thankful for the opportunity, and the wonderful tuition-reimbursement policy that makes it all possible. 

+ My metabolism. It’s certainly not what it used to be, but I recognize that I haven’t been easy on it either. So to my metabolism I’d like to say: Thanks for doing more than your fair share. You’ll be working overtime this weekend.

+ This blog. It may just be a silly time-consuming hobby of mine, but I do so appreciate you stopping by and joining me for the ride. Thank you!

On that note, I hope you have yourself the happiest of Thanksgivings. Rohini, Kate and I will be celebrating ours over a highly-anticipated meal at Farmers, Fishers, Bakers in Georgetown, followed by a screening of Catching Fire. Rohini and I caught the first Hunger Games movie at midnight, so tonight’s viewing a week past the release date is well overdue.

Happy Thanksgiving! Xoxo. 

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Pic Me Up - Nainai

I’m back in the good ol’ USofA after a week with family in Inner Mongolia, China mourning and celebrating the life of my Nainai. It was an incredible experience best summed up with the words humbling, exhausting and LOVE in all caps. No words or pictures can do the last week justice, but here are a few snapshots anyway. I’ll share more pictures and stories at a later time.

I’m always a little sad when I leave China, and this last trip back was especially hard, but it’s good to be back nonetheless.

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